Defense attorney Ian Loveseth is due more than the satisfaction of winning two spats that have embarrassed U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan — he’s finally going to get some money out of the government, too.
Earlier this week, Ryan’s office dropped a gun case against Loveseth client Lloyd Jamison after a prosecutor listened to taped conversations between the two — and after the prosecutors sparked an uproar by arguing in court that phone conversations between inmates and their attorneys aren’t subject to privilege. Satisfying as that must have been, it’s his other recent dustup with Ryan that’ll produce unusual monetary rewards.
In an earlier eruption, Loveseth locked horns with Ryan’s office when a DEA agent gave conflicting testimony in a drug case, the U.S. Attorney’s Office delayed in dismissing the case, and Judge Charles Breyer ruled that Loveseth could depose the U.S. attorney and five deputies as part of his attempt to recoup his client’s attorneys’ fees.
This raised some eyebrows since the government taking seriously the request for attorney’s fees is such a rare occurrence that several Justice Department veterans said they’d never heard of before.
The depositions got delayed as Loveseth and Patrick McLaughlin, an assistant U.S. Attorney from L.A. who’s been assigned to handle the case, discussed a settlement. On Wednesday, the two attorneys came back to Breyer’s courtroom to ask his advice on a key matter: “The appropriate rate a lawyer is entitled to receive in compensation for services rendered,” as Breyer put it at the hearing. The lawyers met with the judge in chambers; Breyer agreed to review filings by both parties and report back in December, at which time a settlement could be finalized.
— Justin Scheck